The aura surrounding Aero India 2013 is: lacklustre, as rightly predicted on this site. This year’s edition of the airshow lacks the punch and glamour that was associated with Aero India 2011.
The Boeing 787’s hopefully temporary grounding was reason for media personnel to throng the Boeing stall. And quiz Dinesh Keshkar. Boeing made its mistake of endeavouring on a project that pushed the application of technologies to a scale unseen before, AND offshoring the development work. Boeing employees back in the US are laughing at the management’s poor decision that now costs them a lot, lot more than what they thought would cost by keeping the development in the United States. As airplanes get complex, testing lacks the comprehensiveness in the light of existing and sometimes archaic regulations. This leads to what we’ve all witnessed with the Boeing 787.
The apron somehow seemed empty. The Airbus A330MRTT that was expected, didn’t show up on day one. There was no sign of the Russian Knights at the airbase. Bombardier’s press statement of having the Challenger 605 and the Global 6000 seems a promise unkept, atleast on day one of the show.
Embrarer was represented by its Lineage 1000, Phenom 100, and the EMB135BJ (Business jet variant of the Embracer 135). Cessna surprisingly was present at the show, with its VLJ Cessna Mustang. Parked right next to it was its class competitor, the Pilatus PC-12NG flying for Jindal. Hawker Beechcraft was represented by one Kingair somewhere far down the ramp, almost out of visual range. The IAF’s new Pilatus PC-7 MkII was seen on static display in gaudy colors.
Dassault parked a Rafale in the exhibition area, for everyone to come up close and get a glimpse of the aircraft in Armée de l’Air markings. Dassualt also brought a Falcon 900EX, a Falcon 2000LX, and a Falcon 7X to the show, making it the single largest exhibitor this time. The surety of the US$10B MMRCA deal being closed is reason enough.
The C-17 Globemaster was parked beside the KC-135 tanker.
An unexpected visitor: the Long EZ was present on static display.
On the flying side, Rafales, and F-16s were parked. The Flying Bulls performed wonderfully, and was good talking to the formation lead, Radka.
The rest were planes from the Indian Air Force, that appeared more like fillers than anything else. A DO-228 from the Coast Guard, A MiG29, MiG21, Jaguar (with a Honeywell F125 engine parked right beside, symbolising the confirmation of Honeywell winning the Jaguar re-engine deal). A IAF C130J, Sukhoi 30MKI, Mirage 2000…all fillers.
A WWII restored Tiger Moth took to the skies.
Enter the stalls, and the cut in individual spending is visible, everywhere. Welcome to Aero India 2013: the anti-climax of 2011.